RTS Coaching: Lats vs. Abs

Lats vs. Abs

Whether you coach personal training clients or overhead athletes, one of the biggest issues that I see is an inability to go overhead safely and effectively.

Now there are obviously a ton of reasons why someone may not be able to go overhead effectively, but one of the biggest reasons is poor muscular balance between the lats and abs.

(If you want an intro, read this first: Lats: Friends or Foe?)

Now let’s talk a bit more….

Now that you’ve watched the video, here are a few things to remember:

  • The lats pull up on the back side of the pelvis, while the abs pull up on the front side. If you want to control your pelvis (and keep your lower back healthy in the process), then you need to own your pelvis first.
  • The kettlebell pullover is a staple in my lat vs. ab program. This exercise not only gives the body a ton of external support from the ground, but it also allows you to work within your “functional range.”

Last but not least, a few coaching cues when performing this exercise:

  • Set-up in either a 3-month or hook-lying position.
  • Exhale fully (allowing the ribcage to come down, in and back – thanks PRI), and reach long through the arms.
  • While continuing to reach, allow the weight to drift back and over your head.
  • Go as far as you can without allowing the lower back to extend or the lower rib cage to pop up, and then return to the starting position.

Once you’ve mastered these variations, by all means move towards more challenging variations in half and tall-kneeling.

Give the KB pullover a shot next time you’re in the gym. I think you’ll love ’em!

All the best



Get 3 days of my best coaching materials — for free.


Notebook with pencil icon Write better programs
Trophy icon Learn how to motivate clients outside the gym
Meditation icon My most popular resets for instantly improving movement quality


Leave Comment

  1. Mike ur awesome, I also do this exercise, get weird looks and ppl tell me there are better ways to work my lats. But like u said, if lats r too strong it screws things up.

    Thanks for the great content and your positive attitude.

  2. In all the classes I teach, I emphasize keeping the ribs down when doing a pullover. I knew this was important but was not sure why. Thanks for clearing that up for me!

Leave a Reply

Back to All Posts